Three Prospects the Nets Should Trade Into the Draft For

Although a weaker class, there are certain players that would help Brooklyn in re-tooling their roster.
Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht (3) celebrates a three point basket against Purdue during the second half of the NCAA tournament Midwest Regional Elite 8 round at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Sunday, March 31, 2024.
Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht (3) celebrates a three point basket against Purdue during the second half of the NCAA tournament Midwest Regional Elite 8 round at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Sunday, March 31, 2024. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the Brooklyn Nets not having a pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, there are heavy rumors of a trade into draft night. After going 32-50, the Nets ended up with the third overall pick after the lottery, but it went to the Houston Rockets because of the James Harden trade back in 2021.

Stuck between a rebuild and just being competitive enough to sneak into the Play-In Tournament or playoffs, there are players in this year's class who can help Brooklyn in both areas. Certain prospects are seen to have an immediate impact, while others can help fill holes in the roster and eventually develop with time.

Here are three prospects the Nets should consider trading into the draft for:

Nikola Topic (Serbia)

Topic's stock has fallen a bit, due to a partially torn ACL he suffered a few weeks ago. The Serbian point guard finds himself in a similar situation to Michael Porter Jr., in that the talent is still there, but injuries being a turnoff for teams will likely slide him outside of the top ten.

Nevertheless, the Nets have a glaring playmaking issue, and Topic can fix that. He's a high-IQ player, with room to grow as a scorer, but still dishes the ball at a high rate. Pairing him in the backcourt with Cam Thomas would create a good balance of distribution and scoring, with Topic fitting into Jordi Fernandez's unselfish, pace-and-space offense.

Topic draws similarities to Ricky Rubio in his passing, and the way he attacks the basket is very Manu Ginobili-esque, slithering his way through traffic with a soft touch at the rim. If the Nets want to start rebuilding by fixing their problem at the 1, Topic is their guy.

Matas Buzelis (G League Ignite)

Feb 16, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Team Detlef forward Matas Buzelis (13) of the G League Ignite shoots the ball against Team Pau forward Brandon Miller (24) of the Charlotte Hornets during a Rising Stars semifinal game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 16, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Team Detlef forward Matas Buzelis (13) of the G League Ignite shoots the ball against Team Pau forward Brandon Miller (24) of the Charlotte Hornets during a Rising Stars semifinal game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Buzelis is projected to go early, potentially in the top five with the way his pre-draft hype is building. The 6-foot-10 wing is a skinny prospect with solid skills in just about any department. The only challenge will be honing those skills, as nothing is quite elite in his game yet.

It's a bit of a project pick, but Buzelis thrives in the post and has a high basketball IQ. The Nets could slide him into the four next to Bridges if they don't deal him to get a high pick. He has great footwork and would work great as an off-ball cutter in Fernandez's system.

It's likely Bridges goes in a deal that gets Brooklyn Buzelis, but that only means more room for him to develop with more touches.

Dalton Knecht (Tennessee)

Tennessee Volunteers guard Dalton Knecht (3) holds up three fingers to celebrate a three-point basket Sunday, March 31, 2024, during the midwest regional championship at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Purdue Boilermakers defeated the Tennessee Volunteers, 72-66.
Tennessee Volunteers guard Dalton Knecht (3) holds up three fingers to celebrate a three-point basket Sunday, March 31, 2024, during the midwest regional championship at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The Purdue Boilermakers defeated the Tennessee Volunteers, 72-66. / Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY

Knecht is seen as the player with the highest floor when it comes to scoring. The senior averaged 21.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in his final season at Tennessee, leading the team to Elite 8 against Purdue.

Knecht is a bit slower than most guards and forwards in the class, but his length and versatile bag are huge for teams needing a spark plug. He can score on or off the ball, and with the Nets potentially trading their second-leading scorer, Mikal Bridges, Knecht would be a great replacement.

Knecht would immediately start at the small forward position, and it would be interesting to see how he meshes with the rest of the team. If Brooklyn decides to go into a full rebuild and deal Bridges, he would immediately make a huge offensive impact.


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Jed Katz

JED KATZ